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Who May Receive MRS Services?
Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) helps Michigan residents with disabilities achieve employment and self-sufficiency. MRS is part of a network of vocational rehabilitation programs across the U.S. authorized by the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. Each year, more than 7,000 residents of Michigan with disabilities are assisted into jobs through MRS services.
MRS serves people in their communities through 35 field offices staffed by master's degree level rehabilitation counselors. In addition, one or more MRS counselors are on staff at each of the 100 Michigan Works! Service Centers.
Who Should Go to MRS?
People with a wide range of disabilities are served by MRS. Some disability examples are amputation, back disability, brain injury, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, hearing loss, heart disease, kidney disease, learning disability, mental illness, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, paraplegia, quadriplegia, and substance abuse. (In Michigan, persons who are legally blind are served by the Bureau of Services for the Blind.)
MRS works closely with numerous community agencies to accept referrals and, in many instances, to provide cooperative rehabilitation programming. Agencies referring individuals to MRS include educational institutions, health organizations, Department of Health and Human Services, hospitals, Employment Service Agency, correctional institutions, Social Security Administration, independent living centers, and private agencies. Nearly 30% of the individuals served by MRS are referred by family or friends or apply on their own.
Who is Eligible?
A person with a disability may be eligible for MRS services if the disability causes problems in preparing for, finding, or keeping a job. So, to be eligible for MRS services a person must have all three:
- Existing physical/mental impairment;
- Vocational or work related barriers due to a disability; and
- The requirement of MRS services.
Every person who applies for assistance from MRS has the right to know if he or she is eligible. This may seem odd since most people who come to our bureau already believe they are eligible for help. But your counselor is required to assess your disability and need for bureau services.
There are two reasons why an eligibility determination is important:
- Determining eligibility helps us identify and understand your disability-related functional limitations and/or barriers to employment.
- Knowledge of your limitations/barriers is the first step in developing an employment plan.
How Does MRS Work?
Each person who comes to MRS is teamed with a rehabilitation counselor. Together, they follow four steps:
- Deciding on an employment goal.
The customer selects a job goal based on his or her aptitudes and interests. Assessments may be needed, such as vocational testing, work evaluations, and job try-outs.
- Developing a plan.
The plan states the services needed and who will provide them. Some services will be provided directly by the counselor or other MRS staff. Other services may be purchased or provided by other agencies.
- Following the plan.
Examples of services received by the customer are job-seeking skills training; job placement assistance; accommodations/assistive technology; job coaches; tools, equipment, and licenses needed to go to work; job training; prostheses and other medical services; and support services such as interpreters, readers, and transportation.
- Reaching the goal.
The counselor works with the customer to reach the final goal of finding the right job. Once the individual is on the job, the counselor follows up for at least 90 days to make sure both the employee and employer are satisfied. If needed, additional services can be provided to help a person stay on the job.
Who Pays for Services?
MRS provides the following services at no cost to the individual with a disability: disability assessments, vocational evaluations, counseling, job placement services, and job follow-up services. Other services are purchased from public and private agencies in the community. If financially able, customers are asked to help pay for part of these services.
How Is a Referral to MRS Made?
Any person with a disability who is interested in receiving job rehabilitation services may call the nearest MRS office. Referrals also may be made by family members, hospitals, school counselors, mental health professionals, social workers, churches, and other community agencies.
What Type of Services Are Available to Employers?
MRS also has on staff 20 Business Relations Consultants, Occupational Therapists, and Rehabilitation Specialists across the state who help business owners and managers find solutions to disability-related issues in the workplace.
Services available to businesses are helping employers in many ways:
- Retain valuable employees who are at-risk because of the onset of a disability.
- Referral of qualified, pre-screened job applicants matched to the employer's requirements.
- Reimbursement for part of the costs associated with training a new worker referred by MRS.
- Helping businesses obtain disability-related tax credits and deductions.
- Providing information on employer responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Returning injured workers to the job through the MRS Disability Management Program.
Specific strategies available from MRS include: reasonable accommodation recommendations, ergonomic assessments, employee counseling, job analyses, transferable skill analyses, and linking businesses with community and state resources.